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Comic actor and TV show host Chuck McCann dies at 83

One of the most prolific TV hosts, Chuck McCann was much more than just a performer. He was instrumental in giving a direction to children’s programmes on American TV.

tv Updated: Apr 09, 2018 14:34 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Chuck McCann,TV host,The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
Chuck McCann was 83.(AP)

Comic actor and children TV show host Chuck McCann passed away at the age of 83. The actor died due to congestive heart failure, his publicist Edward Lozzi told The Hollywood Reporter.

Born in New York City on September 2, 1934, McCann belonged to a family of performers - his grandfather was a part of Wild West Show in Buffalo Bill and his father, Val McCann, was a known band leader who served as the music arranger at New York’s Roxy Theatre.

McCann was also a puppeteer, nightclub comic, movie actor, voice-over performer and celebrity impersonator. He played an important supporting role in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968) and starred in the low-budget fantasy film The Projectionist (1971), his only feature role.

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McCann owed famous New York kids show presenter Sandy Becker for giving him his big break in the mid-1950s, when the duo collaborated on a kids show. He founded the Sons of the Desert, the international fan club dedicated to celebrating Laurel & Hardy, along with actor Orson Bean.

Starting off in November 1959, McCann hosted The Puppet Hotel. He also played the bumbling desk clerk of a hotel inhabited by puppets, created by master puppeteer Paul Ashley. McCann went on to present three-hour show Let’s Have Fun, followed by The Chuck McCann Show in 1963. Chuck McCann’s Laurel & Hardy TV Show (1966) was his final local TV outing, which was created by Hanna-Barbera. He also briefly appeared on The Captain Kangaroo Show as Sailor Clyde.

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McCann’s also lent his voice in animation projects such as Pac-Man, G.I. Joe, The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, DuckTales, Fantastic Four (as Ben Grimm/The Thing) and The Powerpuff Girls.

The actor is survived by his wife of 40 years, Betty Fanning, a former William Morris executive. He had three children from a previous marriage.

First Published: Apr 09, 2018 14:19 IST